Tesla on Sunday walked back its previous decision to close its retail outlets and move to an online-only model, but it's not business as usual for the electric-car builder's showrooms.
In a statement posted to its website, Tesla indicated that some stores with high foot traffic that had already been shuttered will reopen. The automaker indicated that as many as half of its stores will stick around, instead of the plan announced earlier this month by CEO Elon Musk to move away entirely from having showrooms.
The Tesla stores that remain open will function differently. Most staff will be trained to show a customer how to order a car online from their phone. The company plans to keep a small number of cars onsite for potential buyers to test drive, but said that its 7-day, 1,000-mile return policy acts as a trial period for a buyer. If a buyer must have a car at the exact moment they're interested, some stores will also have a handful of cars for immediate delivery.
To pay for the stores, the automaker said that it will raise prices 3 percent on cars other than the $36,200 Model 3 Standard Range unveiled earlier this month. Tesla said that the most expensive versions of the cars will be affected. For example, that will make the Model 3 dual-motor variant with all-wheel drive about $49,600 compared to its current $48,200 starting price before a partial federal tax credit. The more affordable mid-range car, which starts at $41,200, will rise to about $42,400 with the three percent increase.
Those who want to place an order before the 3 percent price hike kicks in will have the ability to do so until March 18 when Tesla ratchets prices upward.